A COVID-19 PCR test valid for 48 hours will be a prerequisite for exhibitors during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fare (ZITF) due in the next two weeks, and delegates are being urged to fully vaccinate ahead of the event to enhance herd immunity.
As preparations for the prime trade showcase scheduled for August 23 to 25 gather momentum, the ZITF Company, working closely with the Government and key stakeholders, has agreed to host the expo under strict adherence to World Health Organisation (WHO) standard mitigation protocols.
A Covid-19 Safety and Risk Management Plan has already been formulated and contains exhibitor guidelines, which have been shared to registered local and international exhibitors.
These must be followed to the dot throughout the trading days, organisers have said.
The plan outlines three phases, starting with pre-event participation requirements, activities and responsibilities and post-event activities.
This will, among others, see a surveillance team being established to monitor all client service points and around public areas while reminding people to adhere to recommended protocols.
ZITF Company chief executive officer Dr Nicholas Ndebele said preparations for the event were progressing well and assured exhibitors that the expo will be held under safe conditions.
He said a significant number of exhibitors have started arriving at the giant exhibition centre in Bulawayo to fix their stands and were mindful of the need to reduce crowding associated with last-minute preparations.
“Participants who will be at ZITF throughout the duration of the show, that is exhibitors, contractors, suppliers and vendors will be required to produce a Covid-19 free certificate (PCR test) taken no later than 48 hours before the show begins,” said Dr Ndebele.
“Additionally, all stakeholders are strongly encouraged to have vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to their coming to the show so as to increase the level of herd protection at the exhibition.
“This is in line with the stipulated exhibitor guidelines in the ZITF 2021 Covid-19 Safety and Risk Management Plan.”
Dr Ndebele said to date, 408 direct exhibitors have confirmed participation.
These include representation from nine other countries namely Belarus, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
“In terms of space utilisation, 87 percent has been taken up, which translates to a total of 43 166 square metres,” he said.
This year’s exhibition is being held under the theme: “Showcasing the New Normal for Business & Industry: Realities and Opportunities.”
According to ZITF 2021 Covid-19 Safety and Risk Management Plan, the guidelines seek to provide a robust health and safety roadmap in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of Covid-19 among the stakeholders that will attend the trade fair.
In addition to vaccination and testing, the guidelines emphasise the need for all exhibitors and visitors to pre-register online to reduce contact and gathering at the registration points during arrival.
“Visitors (will be) denied entry due to high temperature or any visible symptoms of ill-health will be referred to the containment facility for further assessment and case management by medical personnel,” said the company.
“On arrival, everyone will undergo a Covid-19 screening exercise comprising temperature and mask checks. Contactless scanners will be at all entry points to facilitate minimal human interface.
“All exhibitors are required to reduce the number of exhibitors as per provided schedule.
“The Bulawayo City Council will increase waste collection frequency to improve hygiene and sanitation.”
Participants have also been urged to pre-schedule their meetings using the ZITF 2021 mobile app among other electronic payment channels.
“The risk management plan seeks to provide a robust health and safety roadmap that seeks to prevent and mitigate the spread of Covid-19 among exhibitors, visitors, service providers and stakeholders.
“It also seeks to provide a rigorous set of contingency measures that will guide show participants from pre-registration, arrival on site, entry into halls, to the way they navigate the hall floors, meeting spaces as well as use of catering spaces and sanitation facilities,” said the company.
Exhibitors would also be expected to implement standard mitigation measures at their stands such as sanitising, maintaining social distance, limiting the number of people exhibiting in each stand and proper wearing of masks among others.
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The ZITF Company said it has trained its frontline workers to help in enforcing Covid-19 regulations, stating that after the setting up of stands, exhibitors will be expected to vacate their stands for fumigation.
All exhibition halls will be further disinfected at the close of business every day.
“The achievement of this plan hinges on commitment by all stakeholders to follow these safety measures, contactless admission controls, clearly regulated online ticketing with full registration and the possibility of consistent contact tracking in line with numbers management and physical distancing requirements,” said the company.
“All exhibitors, contractors and suppliers will be required to vacate the exhibition premises by 4PM on Sunday August 22 to allow for fumigation of the exhibition centre before the show. All exhibition halls will be further disinfected at the close of business every day.”
The ZITF was initially supposed to be held from July 20 to 23 but it was postponed following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.